Introduction: Waterproof Tablecloth Apron
Grand Prize in the
Mother's Day Contest
I must admit that the apple did not fall far from the tree for me when it comes to keeping things tidy. Just like my mother I tend to get water everywhere when I wash the dishes and am hopeless at keeping cooking oil off of my clothes. This easy-to-make apron would make a great gift for my mother and maybe yours, even if your mother doesn't have difficulties in the kitchen!
The main advantages of this apron, in addition to being cute, are as follows:
1. Waterproof so that the clothes you are wearing underneath do not get wet when cooking or doing dishes.
2. Plastic coating makes it super easy to clean without having to worry about oil stains.
3. Plastic-lined tablecloths are cheap and easy to come by.
4. It can be made from a used tablecloth and other various fabric scraps, thereby cutting down on your environmental impact.
5. The main section can be cut from one piece, and only steps 1-6 are necessary to make a operable apron, making it simple and less time consuming for those of us working without a sewing machine.
Step 1: Gathering Materials
Plastic-coated tablecloth: about 55x71 inches (140x180cm)
3-4 scraps of fabric in varying (approximate) lengths: neck strap - 23.5x3 inches (60x8cm), top support - 14.5x5 inches (36x12cm), a waist tie - 71x50.5 inches (180x128cm) and bottom - 30x5 inches (76x12cm)
Pins, Needle and thread
These materials are pretty easy to come by; you can either use an old tablecloth that you have lying around or you can buy one at a thrift store. Any fabric will do in a jiff, but the waterproof material is what makes this really handy. Mine was purchased at a thrift store, and was originally used as a tablecloth until my roommate described it as a little too vibrant for our dining room.
Step 2: Cutting the Pattern Out
To figure out how much apron coverage you need, try to find a dress that covers about as much as you would want an apron to when you hold the dress up on your front. For example, if you want an apron the reaches below the knees, you should find a dress that reaches below the knees.
Fold the tablecloth once along it's width and then once again along it's length in order to have plastic coating on both sides. Fold the dress in half and place the folded edge of the dress and the top of the dress along the two folded edges of the tablecloth
Mark the outline of the dress on the tablecloth, or directly cut around the dress if you are confident in your cutting skills.
WARNING: Do not get the tablecloth anywhere near a hot iron! Also, cats do not make good fabric weights.
Step 3: Preparing the Strap Pieces
Next, prepare the four pieces of scrap material by measuring how long you will need them. This will really just depend on how big you want your apron, but I found that the following measurements worked well for me:
neck strap - 23.5x3 inches (60x8cm)
top support - 14.5x5 inches (36x12cm)
waist tie - 71x50.5 inches (180x128cm)
bottom edging - 30x5 inches (76x12cm)
Depending on your scrap material, you may want to sew the waistband and neck strap into long tubes and turn them inside out before ironing them to make a nice, flat strap. The top support and the bottom edging should have at least a quarter inch of the border folded under and then the whole strip should be folded in half along the long edge and ironed. If you dont have an iron you can improvise by getting the fabric a little moist before folding it and keeping it moist while sewing it.
The scrap materials I used for the straps mainly came from the trimmings of a tailored coat and a fabric belt. I had to undo a bunch of stitching on my scraps before I could use them, but the remaining holes allowed me to sew back over them in straighter lines.
Step 4: Top Support
Now you can start sewing things together, starting with the top support and then the neck strap.
Start by sandwiching the top support over the folded top edge of the tablecloth cutout and pin it down (see the photo). The top support, which the neck strap will eventually be sewn to, should be covering 1-2 inches on either side of the apron. In order to reinforce the plastic tablecloth, you should sew a line through both sides of the top support all the way around a little less than a quarter inch from the edge.
Step 5: Neck Strap
Once the top support is in place you can move on to affixing the neck strap. Make sure you test the length of the neck strap before you sew it on; It should fit over your head when attached to the apron.
Choose which side will be the backside of your apron and sew the neck strap on at a slight angle so that the ends point a little towards the outer edges of the top support. If you sew the neck strap on straight up and down the top of the apron will bunch in the middle when you wear it. The pictures show me sewing the neck strap on straight up and down, and as a result, my apron bunches a little in the middle.
If you are worried about the neck strap edges fraying, you might want to do an edging stitch. This stitch is like the regular front-back over the edge stitch, except you thread the needle through the loop before pulling it taught. See the attached photos for clarification.
Step 6: Waist Tie
My waist tie ended up a little wider than intended, but it works well. To attach the waist tie to the apron, I stitched three sets of two vertical lines down the front middle of the waist tie. Mostly this was a result of laziness, but it also looks nice with the materials I had.
Speaking of laziness, once you have finished this step you will have a working apron, but if you want a more finished product please read on.
Step 7: Apron Folding
To give your apron a nice shape, I suggest adding a couple simple folds.
Keeping the midsection as wide as the top part of the apron, fold the flap over. One folded, fold it back over leaving a few inches tucked on the back side of the apron and pin it down. Now repeat these steps for the other side then sew the fold where the outer wing meets the midsection of the apron. Tack the corner of the remaining flap to the inside with a few stitches.
Step 8: Lower Edge
Once your apron has all the folds secured trim the middle edge that sticks out to match the sides. Sandwich the edging strap over the bottom edge of the apron and pin it down (see the photo). Stitch along the top edge of the strap.
Once you are done with the lower edge of the apron, you might want to do another edging stitch on all of the edges that have not been stitched, however, plastic tablecloths do not fray, so this is optional.
Enjoy your new apron!
Step 9: Optional Pocket Advice
I prefer a simple apron without pockets because I eventually put too much stuff in the pockets and it weighs down on my neck. However, there are at least two viable ways of putting functional and/or attractive pockets on this apron.
The first method that comes to mind is cutting a pocket shape out of the tablecloth or other materials and use some of your extra strap pieces to line the top. After cutting the pocket out of the fabric you would sew the strap piece over the top edge like you did with the top of the apron. Then you could simply sew it straight on to the middle of the large apron section in the front of the apron.
A second, more complicated option is to make something more similar to pants pockets that would fit into the folds of the larger section. To do this you could find some thinner material and use pockets from a pair of pants as an example of how to sew the pockets into the folded area of the apron.
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